Light And Medium Helicopters To Test A Variety of Weapons
Eurocopter and Advanced Technologies & Engineering have
commenced flight test firing of a new Stand-Alone Weapons System
(SAWS) for light and medium helicopters.
Initial test flights using the SAWS-equipped Eurocopter EC635
took place at the Murray Hill Test Range, near Pretoria. This
flight is the first in a series of future testing to validate a
variety of weapons systems suitable for similar airframes.
“Eurocopter’s partnership with ATE on SAWS is a
joint response to an increasing market demand for helicopters
equipped with a suitably credible weapon system able to counter
evolving threats and both current and future conflict mission
scenarios," explained Olivier Lambert, Eurocopter’s Senior
Vice President Sales and Customers Relations in a press
statement. "While we have pr oven capabilities producing multi-role
military helicopters, ATE is unrivaled in weapon system development
and sub-systems integration on fixed and rotary wing aircraft. This
venture and our partnership make perfect sense,”
Also in the press statement, the two companies describe the
firing trials as successful.
Eurocopter says the EC635 used in the testing trial is fitted
with a Belgian FN Herstal HMP–400 12.7mm machine gun and a
French Nexter NC-621 20mm cannon. The first phase used the Herstal
machine gun and the second, used the Nexter.
Eurocopter With Weapons System/Photo Used With
The initial EC635 SAWS configuration for International Customers
will also feature Denel’s Ingwe Anti-Tank Missile.
Integration of the missile is currently in its design and
development phase at ATE’s state-of the art facilities in
Midrand. Future weapons to be integrated on these helicopters
include missiles and guided rockets of various international
When asked to describe the program's impact, ATE CEO, Jean-Marc
Pizano said, “The successful completion of this major
international project will position ATE and South Africa as the
world’s leading integrator of a variety of weapons on foreign
aircraft. It also has the potential to place ATE and its South
African suppliers as part of an international supply chain at
systems level with the world’s number one helicopter
The SAWS will allow light and medium helicopters to
perform surveillance and armed reconnaissance, airborne
command and control, close air support, maritime patrol,
anti-piracy, counter insurgency, anti-terrorism, and is a potential
for light ASuW and ASW.